Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peaches, Flooring, and Happenings...

 Nope.  Not apples.  Peaches.  Because that's how ambitious I am!  On top of all the harvesting here, I decided to buy a box of Michigan peaches to put up for the winter.  They were beautiful....I couldn't resist!
 I blanched them, and the boys peeled them.  All 68 of them or something like that.  Then I sliced them and froze them for peach crisp, and peach pie, and fresh peaches on our granola. Yum!
 Six giant bags of peaches are in my freezer. :) And 26 jars of homemade salsa are in my cupboard!  Thanks to my mom who brought tomatoes from a friend and worked hard hard hard with me all last Saturday.  And well, actually there are only 13 jars in the cupboard she has half of them.  

Also, recently...the men put in the laminate floor in the orange room.  Our eldest son worked all day with papa on measuring and cutting boards and laying them down.  It was a joy to see them work together, and to witness how capable our boy is.  How hardworking and interested and helpful.

We've also just been getting into the swing of school.  Our days go so well when I actually get my stuff together ahead of time and have lots of projects and ideas for them.  No, I don't actually always "do" the stuff with them, but I am the idea maker alot of the time!  Having more structure in our school day really seems to suit us.  It's definitely NOT like school structure at all.  More like...have lots of things lined up to do that are interesting, hands on, and pertinent and then go with the flow.  But we do make sure we get to Math, Bible, and Handwriting everyday, while the other subjects kind of shift around depending on how we are doing, what harvesting needs to get done, and what field trips we are taking!  It's been a good fall so far.  I hope it continues so!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

The boys had so much fun with the drawing!  (I did too!)

And the winner of the Etsy Giveaway is.....Wildflower!

Congratulations!  I'll contact you to get your mailing address very soon.

Thank you to everyone who supported me with comments on the blog, emails, and convos at my Etsy Shop.  I truly love hearing from each of you.  It's been really exciting to learn what your tastes are and it's helping me make my shop a more creative spot!  So thanks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Makin' Grape Juice

The autumn days have settled in here and along with the cool crisp days comes the ripening of the orchard.  The apples are ready on the Cortland tree and the Concord grapes are starting to ripen.  It is such a blessing to have all of these good things growing right in our own little spot of earth.  But it can also mean a lot of work! 

This year, the boys are a bit older, and so we've decided to have a Harvest Week instead of the more structured book type learning of "regular" homeschool days.  They were excited to get started so I set them to work right away!

The two eldest boys washed the grapes, plucked them from their stems, smashed them up and put them into a pot.  The smashing was by far the most exciting part.  They are so juicy!

 Here they are all smashed up and ready to cook.  Did you know that concords are green on the inside even when ripe?  It's the skin that gives the juice that dark color. 
 They cook over medium heat just until they boil for a few minutes to release the juice.  Then it all gets put into a cheesecloth to be strained.
 The color is so beautiful to me and the whole process smells soooo good.  I let it sit in the cheesecloth for a day or overnight and then carefully pour it into a big glass jar for the fridge or freezer.  And Yes! We drink it straight!  It's sooooo tart!  We put it over ice-cubes and it's a fun time.  I also use it to make grape jelly.  Homemade grape jelly tastes so much better than the store bought kind and it's a treat to have a jar in the pantry come winter.

So right about now you might be wondering how I manage to get this done with little Hen always getting into things!  He is definitely into things!  (i love it!)  Well...the two older boys were so helpful that while they were making the grape juice I made a batch of chocolate zucchini bread, which kept Hen busy.

*Don't miss out on the opportunity to win something from my Etsy shop!  You still have two days to sign up.  I hope to hear from you about which one you like as it's an important part of the learning process in this whole adventure!  Thanks!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Etsy Shop! And a Giveaway!

I'm am so happy to share with you about my Etsy ShopTree Shadow Designs is now up and running!
The shop is a place for me to share with you, friends, the fiber art that I have been happily working on for the past several months.  I just love yarn, and love the whole process of creating with it.  I love how it feels in my hands, the motion of the needle being wrapped up.  I love how you can make something three dimensional from a single strand of wool.  The items in the shop are a mix of crochet and embroidery, although I also love to knit and felt.  Perhaps there will be some of that in the future!

So....I'd love it if you'd go over and take a peek!  And because all of this has really happened because of the good things that I've been given...I want to give something to you!  A Giveaway!

Here's how it works.  One of you will win a free item from the shop of your choice.  To enter, just leave me a comment here on the blog telling me which one you would like, if you are chosen.   To receive another entry in the drawing, like Tree Shadow Designs on facebook, and tell me about it in your comment.  And get yet another entry if you sign up as a follower of this blog.  The drawing will take place next Thursday and I will announce the winner on the blog.

And lastly, but maybe most importantly, Thank You!  So many of you have supported me though this journey.  Sent me a note of encouragement or given me ideas....Thank You!  Your friendship means alot to me and just might be the best part of this whole endeavor.